by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS R'EI 5766 BS"DCh. 11, v. 26: "R'ei" - See - This word is in the singular form, while "lifneichem" is in the plural. Rabbeinu Chaim Paltiel therefore explains that these are not the words of Moshe to the bnei Yisroel, but rather, Hashem speaking to Moshe, hence "r'ei," to tell the bnei Yisroel, "lifneichem."
Ch. 11, v. 26: "Ha'yom" - Today - The Holy Zohar on Vayikra 231a writes that wherever the Torah says "ha'yom," it refers to Rosh Hashonoh. Based on this the verse follows most logically, "brochoh ukloloh." On Rosh Hashonoh Hashem judges whether a person will have a year of blessing or ch"v otherwise. (Imrei chaim of Viznitz)
Ch. 11, v. 27: "Habrochoh asher tish'm'u" - The blessing if you will listen - Rashi in parshas Bo cites the verse in Tzefanioh 3, "tikchi musor," that Hashem sends plagues upon the nations so that the bnei Yisroel should fear that it might come upon them as well, and better their ways. This, says Rashi, was one of the purposes of bringing the ten plagues upon the Egyptians, so that the bnei Yisroel would improve. The ten plagues have the famous mnemonic "d'tzach adash b'achav." Their numerical value is the same as "asher," 501. This is applied to numerous verses in the story of the exodus from Egypt, such as "ASHER hisalalti b'Mitzroyim."
Perhaps we can apply this to our verse as well. Hashem sends numerous catastrophes upon the nations of the world. The blessing will come if "ASHER tish'm'u," we hear the message of ASHER, the plagues sent upon others, and this is sufficient to prod us into improving ourselves, and then only blessings will be visited upon us. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 12, v. 3: "V'ibadtem es shmom" - And you shall negate their name - Rashi (gemara A.Z. 46a) says that the intention is to corrupt the respectful names given to idolatry into shameful names (i.e. colombo should be called colone bo, there is shame in it).
The Rokei'ach says that these words of our verse have the same numerical value as "zehu l'shanos shmoh lignai."
Ch. 12, v. 3: "Min hamokome hahu" - From that place - These words seem to limit the command to destroy their name to Eretz Yisroel. Indeed this is the opinion of the Sha"ch at the end of Y.D. #146. The Ta"z ad loc. says that the mitzvoh applies worldwide.
Ch. 12, v. 5: "Ki im el hamokome" - Except at the place - Coming on the heels of "Lo saasun kein laShem Elokeichem" of the previous verse, it seems that our verse tells us that even though there is "this" prohibition, it is lifted at Hashem's Sanctuary. Rashi and others offer an array of interpretations for "lo saasun." The simple explanation that it is a prohibition against erasing Hashem's Holy Name, the Chid"o and numerous others explain that this is lifted in the Beis Hamikdosh for the erasure of Hashem's name in the parsha of Sotoh. The Moshav Z'keinim in parshas Nosso says a startling "chidush." He asks why Hashem orchestrated the miracle of a wife who did not keep her fidelity to her husband blowing up after the "sotoh water" procedure. Why not judge the doubt of her fidelity with the general Torah guideline of "chazokoh," status quo, weakened by the circumstantial evidence, and come on a case-by-case judgment to either a guilty or innocent conclusion? He answers that if not for this supernatural Heavenly intervention many married men would not make the thrice annual "aliyoh l'regel" trek. They would be afraid that during their absence, if their wives might not remain loyal. A technical ruling would not allay their fears if they found "raglayim l'dovor," troublesome incriminating evidence, albeit only circumstantial. Only a clear sign from heaven would allay their fears. Perhaps this is alluded to in our verse. "Lo saasun kein," do not erase Hashem's Holy Name, "Ki im el hamokome," except in the Beis Hamikdosh as part of the "sotoh" ritual. This is done so that "uvoso shomoh," so that you will make the pilgrimage for the Holidays. ("L'shichno sid'r'shu" actually fits in well because the roads leading to Yerusholayim were not marked so that people would ask on the way, and this would create a communal involvement in helping everyone make his way to the Holy City. From the words "l'shichno sid'r'shu" we derive that signs for Yerusholayim were not posted.) (Nirreh li)
Ch. 12, v. 13: "OlosheCHo b'choL mokoMe asheR ti'reH" - Your oloh offerings anywhere you see fit - Rashi (Sifri 12:23) says that we may deduce from "where YOU see fit" that the common man may not do so, but if a prophet is given a message by Hashem to make an exception, then we are to comply with this. Indeed, this was the case with Eliyohu at Mount Carmel and the false prophets of baal. This is alluded to in these words of our verse. The final letters of "OlosheCHo b'choL mokoMe asheR ti'reH" spell CaRMeL, and "b'chol" has the same numerical value as Eliyohu. (Baal Haturim)
Ch. 12, v. 14: "Ki im bamokome asher yivchar Hashem" - Only in the place Hashem will choose - The Torah is discreet about the location of the future Mikdosh. If we take the numerical value of the hidden letters of the "milluy" of "YiVCHaR, Vov-Dalet of Yud, Yud-Tov of Veis, Yud-Tov of Ches, and Shin of Reish, which adds up to 1,130, we have the same value as "Shiloh, Nov, Givon, Yerusholayim." (Holy Admor of Ostrovtza Rabbi Meir Yechiel haLevi)
Ch. 12, v. 29: "Shmor v'shomato" - Safeguard and you will hear - How is one to safeguard a mitzvoh that he has not yet heard? The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh offers numerous answers:
1) Besides Torah level mitzvos we also have Rabbinic safeguard mitzvos, "syog." "Shmor" refers to the written Torah level mitzvos, already known by the masses. "V'shomato" means to listen to and abide by the Rabbinical injunctions. This explains the following words "EIS KOL mitzvos." EIS is in addition, the Rabbinical additions to the written word. "KOL mitzvos," means the mitzvos in their entirety. If not for the Rabbinical safeguards there would be an erosion of and incompleteness of the mitzvos.
2) "V'shomato" adds to the mitzvos one has already kept, by virtue of having learned them, the "shmor," that he study them in further depth, and not say that he knows it all already.
3) "Shmor" refers to mitzvos that one can actually perform, while "v'shomato" refers to mitzvos that one cannot himself personally fulfill, i.e. a mitzvoh specifically for Kohanim, which one can fulfill through studying, as per the verse "unshalmoh porim sifseinu" (Hoshei'a 14:3).
4) The gemara A.Z. 19a says that a person should first learn the complete Torah and only afterwards delve into explanations. "Shmore" the basic halochos, known to you through basic learning, and then "v'shomato," delve into deeper understanding.
5) The Holy Zohar on Vayikra page 123 writes that a sinner has the gates of Torah wisdom closed in his face, i.e. his sins create a barrier between him and Divine inspiration to properly understand the Torah. Therefore "shmor," safeguard the mitzvos of the Torah, and only then "v'shomato," will you understand properly.
6) The gemara Chagigoh 15b says that one should only choose a teacher whom he considers like an angel. "Shmor," if the teacher is one who safeguards the Torah, then and only then, "v'shomato," may you hear his teachings.
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